Nashua zoning board approves plan for Trafalgar Square restaurant
By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON Union Leader Correspondent
NASHUA — Zoning officials on Tuesday paved the way for a new restaurant to be built at Trafalgar Square, while corresponding plans for a 118-room hotel on the same site will be presented to planning officials next month.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a use variance to allow the proposed restaurant, which has yet to be identified, to be constructed at 25 Trafalgar Square on a parcel zoned park/industrial.
The same property is also going to house — if approved by the Nashua City Planning Board on Aug. 8 — a four-story hotel titled TS Residence Inn LLC.“
This site has been an eyesore for quite some time,” said Alderman Richard Dowd, Ward 2. “If they feel this is a viable business opportunity, more power to them.”
Trafalgar Square Associates LLC owns the 4.5 acre site not far from four other hotels in the area. Because the property is already zoned for hotel use, a variance was only necessary for the stand alone, 225-seat restaurant, not the proposed hotel.
Although Dowd said he is pleased the site, which has sat vacant for more than decade, will now be developed and bring more revenue into the city, he did voice some concerns about traffic and parking.
Paul Okonak, who lives nearby at the Cannongate III apartment complex, also expressed concerns about additional traffic at the small intersection where Cannongate and Trafalgar Square connect.
“There have been a number of accidents and a number of near misses,” said Okonak, describing the intersection as incredibly small. “That is a lot of cars that are going to come in and out of there.”
Okonak also noted that there are already four other hotels in the nearby vicinity.Gerry Reppucci, chairman of the ZBA, said the traffic concerns are valid. However, he said those issues must be addressed by the Nashua City Planning Board when the hotel application is reviewed next month.
“We believe the infrastructure in this area is adequate for a 118-room hotel and restaurant,” said Katie Enright, an engineer with Hancock Associates of Chelmsford, Mass.
At least one zoning board member, Jack Currier, said he was concerned about turning over property that is zoned for manufacturing to a restaurant and hotel. The hotel, stressed the applicant, is already an allowed use for the property.
“I am a little on the fence on this one,” said Currier.
Reppucci said the existing parcel is an eyesore, maintaining the hotel and restaurant proposal attempts to beautify an area of the city that really needs attention.
“The applicant states that the restaurant, with the proposed abutting hotel, would enhance the neighborhood by offering amenities to local businesses and residents,” states a staff memo on file at the city’s Community Development Office at Nashua City Hall.
The undisclosed restaurant will serve both guests of the hotel and the public, according to the memo, adding it will also enhance the overgrown foundation that now exists on the property.
The restaurant is proposing 75 parking spaces, with the hotel recommending 118 parking spaces. The hotel, if approved, will be constructed on the western side of Trafalgar Square, just north of Cannongate Drive. The restaurant will be built on the southern most corner of the property near Route 101A.